Behind The Badge
Crimefighters Through History

by Ed Butts

illustrated by Gareth Williams
Annick Press, 2014
ISBN 978-1-55451-674-2
$14.95, 164 pp., ages 10+

I remember being 14 years old and discovering my father’s fingerprinting kit in a box in the basement. Inside were inks, glass plate rollers, file cards and information books on the types of prints and how they were to be classified for identification. I had had no idea until I spoke to my father that he had once dreamed of being a private investigator and had taken courses as a young man to receive his PI licence. This discovery began my early dream of becoming a police officer, and one day a detective. Although this dream never became a reality, the romance of a police officer’s life has always stuck with me. Behind The Badge rekindled that early enthusiasm and could certainly inspire a new generation into the career path of law enforcement. This book examines the history of policing from Neolithic times through to the present. It explores the creation of the earliest organized societies and how they maintained order, to the development of the first professional police forces in England. The book has a global perspective, discussing police organizations in Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. In addition to historical and global perspectives, this book contains chapters on gender and racial equality.

Gareth Williams’ use of shadow and light to depict expression in characters’ faces and the action in each frame enhances the text. His drawings of costumes give the book an added historical perspective.

Classroom Connections: This excellent non-fiction book includes a timeline, glossary of terms, and a bibliography of print and online sources. Perfect for the junior or intermediate classroom, Behind the Badge effectively communicates the important role that peace officers play in the world.

Review by Kent Miller

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